Previous month:
April 2011
Next month:
June 2011

Does your Group have the DNA of a dancer or campaign team? MIT management professor Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism

This MIT study of group DNA is interesting and related to the advocacy mix in a network of people working on a campaign. 

Unpacking the right group DNA for specialized tasks is going to be most useful. I wonder if seqence of how the DNA comes together also makes a difference.  

This group DNA assessment gives rise to an entire classification  and intervention system.  I have been thinking about that in a network/organizational context since grad school (Dave Rosgen's Watershed Assessment) /  the beauty of it is that such systems and assessment tools open up conversations about similar networks. How can 2 people talk about 2 networks and know that they are both looking at a system that is going to behave similarly.

This biggest issue I have with the group DNA isea is that groups change constantly (unlike Dna).
MIT management professor Tom Malone on collective intelligence and the “genetic” structure of groups » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism.  Groups form for all kinds of reasons, but we generally pay little attention to the discrete factors that lead them to form and flourish. Just as understanding humans’ genetic code can lead us to a molecular understanding of ourselves as individuals, mapping the genome of groups may help us understand ourselves as we behave within a broader collective. And that knowledge, just as with the human genome, might help us gain an ability to manipulate group structures. When it comes to individuals, intelligence is measurable — and, thus, it has a predictive element: A smart kid will most likely become a smart adult, with all the attendant implications. Individual intelligence is fairly constant, and, in that, almost impossible to change. Group intelligence, though, Malone’s findings suggest, can be manipulated — and so, if you understand what makes groups smart, you can adjust their factors to make them even smarter. The age-old question in sociology is whether groups are somehow different, and greater, than the sum of their parts. And the answer, based on Malone’s and other findings, seems to be “yes.” The trick now is figuring out why that’s so, and how the mechanics of the collective may be put to productive use. Measuring group intelligence, in other words, is the first step in increasing group intelligence.

I really like this group level thinking.  I look forward to more research in this space. Sandy Pentland 's work is also fantastic.

Are you in an learning community with Crowd, Light, and Desire. ? Dance on.



Those of us organizing political power and mobilizing on the web are in a new ecosystem of rapid learning, improvement and experiementation.  Watch, play and experiment if you are not keeping up with the trends you need to find more dance partners.   They don't need to be working on the same issue, in the same country, or even speak the same language.  Watch them. Learn what works. Inspire each other and bring the voice to your own campaigns to organize new voices.  How can we have major campaigns and fights against injustice within our own movements that are not online. NO MORE. Get your work online.  

Dance or digging a water pipe. Go people!








Google's "+1" might be a big thing for charity and issue work.

 This could playout very interesting to get a bunch of activists to search on an issue and +1 the most informative news and issue sites.   Will large groups upload their entire list to google contacts so that the "social search" guides thier members through the web?

How does it work?  Google looks at your "social connections" to determine who to show your "+1's" to and to figure out which +1's might be useful to you.   According to Google your "social connections" include people in your gmail chat list, people in your my contacts group on gmail, and people you’re following in Google Reader.  I can't tell if it also includes who you follow on twitter. 

How could this make a difference?  If my staff upload the membership contacts into a google contact list and we follow all our members on a google reader these contacts would be my GMT "social connections". GMT then can surf the web on all of our favorite sites on media, environment, membership blogs,etc and "(+1) all of them.  We may even get a grassroots mob to +1 all the good articles on climate change. When the extended network of these groups then google search "climate change" they will start to see the articles weighted more heavily by the grassroots groups working on climate change.  

(I think) There is something about (+1) that begs to leveraged by advocacy groups with large social reach. I think it will have impact because it tweaks the way google results are presented and that will have a big impact on the users.  

Advocacy groups and professional advoactes have lots of things (great article on fracking, here is info on a chemical, ets) that they would love to "tell" thier followers but the volume prevents sending email about each "find".  This is the  underlying user story behind "+1"  so now when a member looks for articles on chemical "X" the social connecitons to that group can see these are the ones the staff of the group they trust would read.

I am not sure how it will all playout but it is interesting.